Virginia Joint ADR Committee

The Joint Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) Committee of the Virginia State Bar and Virginia Bar Association is an active Committee whose mission is to:

            1.         Educate and promote awareness about ADR and how it can benefit the legal community as well as the public;

            2.         Apprise its members and the legal community of developments in and issues involving ADR;

            3.         Help improve the skills of attorney advocates and ADR professionals; and

            4.         Expand opportunities to provide ADR services, including pro bono services that will increase access to justice.

In order to fulfill that mission, the Committee has undertaken a number of initiatives this year.  At the Virginia Bar Association’s 2016 Annual Meeting in Williamsburg, the Committee sponsored a CLE on mediation featuring Professor James Coben, a recognized leader in the mediation field.  The Committee has also developed a one hour mediation CLE that it intends to provide to local bar associations throughout Virginia.  In addition, the Committee’s Council has decided to focus on arbitration this year.  To further that objective, the Committee will provide a one hour CLE on arbitration at the Virginia State Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Practitioner Forum on September 19, 2016, and will also be providing a two hour arbitration CLE this December in conjunction with the Virginia Continuing Legal Education Foundation.  The Committee likewise intends to develop and present a CLE on arbitration for the Virginia Bar Association’s 2017 Annual Meeting in Williamsburg.

In order to promote access to justice, the Committee is working with the Better Business Bureau to provide pro bono mediation and arbitration services and is actively working with leaders in the pro bono field to advise them of the pro bono services that the Committee can offer.  As part of that effort, the Chair of the Committee’s Council has recently met with Firms in Service, which is comprised of representatives from larger firms and related organizations in Central Virginia who are coordinating and promoting pro bono legal services.

The Committee is likewise active in raising awareness about issues involving ADR.  For example, the Committee worked with others to educate the Virginia Bar Association’s leadership and the Committee’s general membership about the effort to increase the fees for court-appointed juvenile and domestic relations mediators.  The Virginia Bar Association made that effort a legislative priority in the last General Assembly Session, which ultimately led to an increase in compensation for those court-appointed mediators.  The Committee published a newsletter this past Spring, sent out an ADR alert, and regularly posts on its blog, which can be found on the Virginia Bar Association’s website.  Finally, the Committee also has been working with the Supreme Court of Virginia – Office of Executive Secretary as it reviews and considers changes to the mediation certification and recertification processes and requirements.

Updated: Aug 04, 2016